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Visions, dreams, and revelations: Demon possession or genuine prophetic fits?

Please see also the related essay Are my personal experiences, dreams, visions, signs and wonders valid? 

Have you noticed the similarity among some of the founders of the major false religions of what I call “prophetic fits”? Most cults in the world began from some kind of vision or direct revelation or visitation from celestial beings claiming to be Mary, Jesus, angels, and so on. I listed some below and more down further below.

Accompanying these visions and revelations and visits, are physical manifestations akin to epileptic seizures and fits that the recipients later report. The recipient of the revelation undergoes a physical trauma of, for example, flailing around, rapid heart beat, or no heartbeat, sweating, groaning, foaming at the mouth, high fevers, and the like. As I listened to one such physical fit that Muhammad had, founder of Islam, I was struck by its similarity to the incidents of demonic possession recorded in the Bible. I wondered if such fits were manifested by other cult founders during their visions or trances, and I learned that they did. Here are a few examples.

Muhammad – Founder of Islam. Muhammad notes that he was visited by an angel claiming to be Gabriel, who pressed or hugged Muhammad so hard that he couldn’t bear it. Three times this pressing hard on Muhammad occurred, though we have no record of any angelic visitation in the Bible where the angel manhandles the person to whom he is charged with bringing a message. Rather, each time, the angel unfailingly comforts or works to quell the fear in the person.

Muhammad was so spooked by the angel and his experience, initially he suspected the visions were from evil spirits. In addition to the previously reported physical manifestations, sometimes Muhammad growled like a camel, and streamed with perspiration even if it was cold. He saw a bright light quite often. The seizures were thorough and convincing. Adherents and critics alike acknowledged Muhammad did suffer from a physical manifestation of some kind. The only question among critics in his day and to this day, was whether Muhammad’s fits were genuinely divinely sent or were evidence of a demonic possession.

Joseph Smith, founder of the church of Latter Day Saints, AKA Mormons, also displayed physical symptoms in some kind of fit that coincided with his revelations, also supposedly from Gabriel. In addition to “Gabriel”, twenty-three other divinely sent visitors also revealed ‘truths’ to Joseph, including dead men such as Adam, Abraham, and Joseph’s own brother Alvin. These ghostly appearances of dead mortal men violate biblical verses in Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:10-13 and several others.

When these revelations occurred, Joseph Smith was seized with a strange power, he was rendered speechless, and he fell on his back. He had visions of darkness and light, a light similarly described as Muhammad’s light.

Ellen G. White– This is the woman who is acknowledged as founding the Seventh Day Adventism cult. The following is from Wikipedia’s entry Criticism of Ellen G. White.

“Her physical experiences during the visions revolved around, becoming unconscious, losing control of her arms and legs, shallow breathing and visual phenomena all of which are symptoms of an epileptic fit such as automatic movements of the hands or mouth, altered ability to respond to others, unusual speech, or unusual behaviors all of which were experienced during these visions. Moreover, following each of these seizures, there is some period of recovery in which neurological function is altered. This is called the postictal state. These states were independently witnessed by Ellen G. White’s followers.”

Padre Pio– is a highly esteemed Catholic visionary of modern times. When he went into vision states, it is reported that perfume emanated from and outward off his body, (Catholics call this ‘odors of holiness’), Pio had many bleeding stigmata, high fevers (off the charts high), and, the usually manifested violent seizures.

Did any OT or NT prophet go into fits when they received an angelic visitation or divine revelation from Jesus or God? Did they flail about, become incoherent and insensible? Abraham fell down and entered a deep sleep after feeling a dread. The same with Daniel. That’s it.

Daniel manifested some physical symptoms, as described in Daniel 10. He lost his strength, and he fell face forward (not backward as the false prophets above did.) He was left afterward with no strength, and remarked he had barely any breath in him, either. (Daniel 10:17). The angel gave him strength. (Daniel 10:19). Daniel did tremble, but it was not in a seizure or fit, his trembling was in fear and anguish at the vision’s contents. When he was commanded to stand up, Daniel did. (Daniel 10:10-11).

Jacob dreamed of the ladder to heaven and then awoke and worshiped. (Genesis 28:10-17). Samuel heard God speak to him and listened. When morning came, Samuel opened the doors to the temple and went about his duties. There were no physical manifestations or seizure-like fits, no lengthy comas, just obedient listening, fully conscious with subsequent worship or attending to the task he was given. (1 Samuel 3:10-15). No seizure.

Balaam went into a trance, (Numbers 24:4) falling forward with his eyes open. No seizure.

Zacharias in the New Testament was visited by an angel, and Zacharias was afraid, but was comforted. He listened to the angel’s message about the upcoming birth of his son John the Baptist, and was conscious and sensible enough to ask his question. The angel rendered Zacharias mute for his impertinence. Zechariah finished his term of priestly duties as a mute and went to his home. Luke 1:5-23. No seizure.

Peter received a vision about the clean foods on the sheet, and no untoward flailing occurred along with the revelation. Same with Paul – no severe physical manifestations accompanied his several visions.

Now comparing the false visionaries such as Muhammad, Smith, and White, we see that the incidences of demon possession in the Bible more closely mirror their experiences than do the experiences of the Bible’s true prophets.

Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid.” (Mark 9:17-18).

These are exactly the symptoms Muhammad exhibited, indeed, Muhammad himself often wondered that his fits were due to demonic spirits.

In Mark 5:3-5 we have the story of the demon possessed Gadarene, who exhibited superhuman strength, yelling, cutting himself, and craziness. We know he was out of his mind with lunacy because after Jesus sent the demons out, we read that the man returned to his right mind. (Mark 5:15).

Matthew 17:15 records that a father begged Jesus to heal his son, who was a lunatic and insensibly threw himself into the fire and the water constantly. Jesus sent the demon out of the boy. (Matthew 17:18).

It’s clear to see the difference between the false prophets’ visions and dreams, and the true prophets’ experiences. The Biblical prophets were sensible, conversed with the angel or with God in their right mind, did not flail about in fits like a lunatic, and were able to rise up afterward and either go about their duties or to worship, with the lone exception of Daniel who was mightily depleted at times from what he had seen. But we can’t blame him, Daniel was given horrific visions to see and record.

Today, we see false prophets of the Charismatic movement falling to the floor, writhing, foaming, screaming, laughing uncontrollably, exactly like those who were recorded as having demons in their body. John MacArthur sums this up:

I was watching the other day some behavior among Hindus who are a part of what’s called the Kundalini cult, the Kundalini cult. They have certain body movements that appear to be perhaps best explained by demon possession. And they’re the absolutely identical body movements to people in the charismatic movement in the extreme behaviors that we see in so-called revivals. This is paganism. This is the work of Satan. This is the work of the kingdom of darkness, and it is not to be attributed to the Holy Spirit. Source

Justin Peters has said, “It is not enough to believe in Jesus. You have to believe in the right Jesus.” (Source, video Devilish Puppet Master of the Word of Faith movement.)

Muhammad’s Islam, Joseph Smith’s Mormonism, Ellen G. White’s 7th Day Adventism, Padre Pio’s Catholicism, and all other cults that begin with a supposed vision from God, deliver a false Jesus. They say they believe in Jesus, but it is not the right Jesus. How can one tell if one is following the right Jesus? He will be the Jesus of the Bible.

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11 KJV).

It is very concerning that many women Bible teachers say they have had visions and are drifting toward Charismatic behavior with physical manifestations. One hallmark of a false vision is that true visions call upon people to repent. False visions never do. They’re always about one’s comfort and ease, or a new way to be a Christian, or some other puffery that will lead a person away from the only true word, the Bible.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

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More information-

Most Dangerous Religious Cults: begun from visions and direct revelations from celestial beings claiming to be Mary, Jesus, angels, and so on. Beware those who claim to have had visions, dreams, and interactions with celestial beings! From these, some of the world’s most dangerous cults and false religions have sprung!

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the cult of Scientology, started his cult on the basis of a near-death experience he had under the influence of nitrous oxide during a dental procedure. When he awakened and recovered, Hubbard  said he had seen the secrets of life. (Source, his unpublished tome Excalibur, later re-worked into his more famous Dianetics book). Not that I can find particular evidence of any visionary manifestations of the physical, but with Hubbard I’m just noting that once again, a cult is built on personal revelations supposedly received from the divine or otherworldly source.

Unification Church members believe that Jesus appeared to Mun Yong-myong when he was 16 years old on Easter morning of 1935 (April 17) and asked him to accomplish the work left unfinished because of his crucifixion. After a period of prayer and consideration, Mun accepted the mission, later changing his name to Mun Son-myong (Sun Myung Moon). Source

The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was a breakaway religious movement from the Roman Catholic Church founded by Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere and Bee Tait in Uganda. It was formed in the late 1980s after Mwerinde, a brewer of banana beer, and Kibweteere, a politician, claimed that they had visions of the Virgin Mary. Source

Raëlism is rooted in the experiences of a French former automobile journalist and race car driver Claude Vorilhon. In his books The Book Which Tells the Truth (1974) and Extraterrestrials Took Me to their Planet (1975), Vorilhon had alien encounters with beings who gave him knowledge of the origins of all major religions. Source

The cycle of war will soon be broken

This first appeared on The End Time in March 2010.

The LORD makes us some promises that are fear-inducing. Other promises He makes are awe-inspiring. Some are both at once. They are bookends of man’s folly and His glory.

In Joel’s prophetic book, at chapter 3 verse 10, it is written: “Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”

Most of us have heard the line that we will beat our plowshares into swords. That verse is located at Isaiah 2:4 – “And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Did you know that there were opposite prophecies concerning the plowshares? God is great and His Word is great.

A plowshare is the pointed part of the homemade plow that digs into the ground. (Image source, University at Buffalo). The cutting point was often laced with bronze or (later) iron. This advance was introduced by the Greeks. In those days as it often as now, metal was expensive. In times of war it was reused by melting it down or forging to make weapons. In WWII America scrap metal drives were held to accumulate metal to be used in munitions. One scrap metal drive accumulated over 5 million tons of metal in just three weeks. It was common or people to strip the metal from their plowshare and beat them into swords when war loomed on the horizon. When the war was over, the reversed the process and beat them into plowshares again. Life on earth has been a never-ending cycle of war-peace, war-peace; plowshares into swords-swords into plowshares…

The Joel verse about the plowshares in context describes war that occurred, war that is ongoing, and also speaks of a (near) future war. It will be a time when God will gather all the people to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Valley of Decision) and render unto them His wrath, because “you have divided my land.”

War is coming. Not only does Joel describe the last war when all nations are gathered, the horrendous WWIII, but war will occur prior to that ultimate war as prophesied in Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39.

However, the good news is that there is a glorious ending to the story. The never-ending war cycle will be broken! Isaiah prophesies that “they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Oh, merciful Lord! No more war. Plowshares forever.

Can you imagine a time or a place where war is never rumored, never occurs, where the earth never requires reconstruction nor cleanup? A place where a peaceful, loving, agrarian society quietly lives and loves other nations? It will happen. You can be part of it. All you need to do is recognize you are a sinner, and feeling sorry that you sinned, ask Jesus to forgive you. If you accept Him as savior and Lord, (meaning He is the only one Who can and will forgive all your sins) you will be forgiven and live forever in a place where there is no war. Hallelujah! The Lord is victorious!

There is encouragement in prophecy

The prophetic scriptures are often overlooked as being allegorical only (they’re not), as being irrelevant (they’re not) as being fulfilled (not all of them) as being tinged with the stigma of not being as important as the ‘real’ verses (nope, just as important). I’ve noticed that the Bible says we should be excited about the soon appearing of our Lord, encouraged by the doctrine of imminence, (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), and in awe of the Lord’s deeds (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 66:5; Zephaniah 2:11…).

God, in His infinite wisdom, put prophecy in His Word because He knows it is good for us to understand His future plans, as far as He has revealed them. (Amos 3:7). Thus, the Lord has put prophetical truth into His Word because He wants us to know! Prophecy reveals His sovereignty more than any other scripture, in my opinion. He tells us thousands of years prior and then it comes true exactly the way He said. I never get tired of seeing it in culture and reading it in scripture and knowing it dear in my heart.

“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

In addition, prophecy reveals His sovereignty because it shows that His purposes cannot be set aside, diverted nor thwarted. He is over all that exists, and He will bring it about as He has said.

Prophecy leads us to Christ. For who above anyone else can do these things. Who is like Him? None!

“Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come–yes, let him foretell what will come.” (Isaiah 44:7).

There is no God like our God, and He chose to reveal details of His plan and purpose from the ancient of times to now. Learn it! Study it! Be humbled by it! You will be in awe of Him, AND you will be comforted. He will bring about our redemption just as He brings about these other things. He will bring about our renewal from creatures of sin to creations of His glory. It is a comfort to remain in His truth, His word is a security blanket that comforts as much as it convicts.

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12).

prophecy

Why are there so many natural disasters?

irma-st-martin-0907-super-169

Irma devastated the island of St Marten. CNN photo

I posted the other day in my essay “Is it the Birth Pangs?” that natural disasters have always been with us. One perspective I had offered was from a John MacArthur sermon. Dr MacArthur had said in his sermon Supernatural Lessons from a Natural Disaster,

We live in a society unlike any in the past, a world of electronic media, a world of mass communication, a world of overexposure to relentless visual images and enhancements.  We see everything and we see it constantly.  In fact, we’re not isolated from anything that happens anywhere in the world

Every catastrophe, every calamity, every cataclysm, every disaster, every tragedy everywhere eventually comes to us through the media and we vicariously experience all the pain and sorrow and suffering and death…

It’s true. I know that when I hunch in front of my laptop and watch in real time Houston flooding from Hurricane Harvey and then a few days later watch the news eagle eyed because Hurricane Irma is predicted to pass over my own area, my mind and heart gets beleaguered. The flood surges, drowned animals, missing elderly, lost homes, evacuations…are all so terrible. It’s difficult to comprehend the significance. And we do look for significance. Why is there so much disaster in the world?

In that previous essay I wrote that the pangs have been appearing for 2000 years, since Jesus ascended. and that this is just the beginning. (Matthew 24:8). Earthquakes, floods, death, and disasters have always happened, since after the time of Genesis 3. Do you know why? The curse. Sin. The earth groans under it.

I’d focused on the curse from Genesis 3.

Here is another reason why, perhaps, there are disasters like hurricanes in the world:

The scene is Jonah 1. The ship is underway. Jonah is rebelling, and the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, which tossed the ship. (Jonah 1:4). In this sermon called Running Away from God’s Will, John MacArthur explained

Well, they were praying, and none of their prayers were doing any good, and they figured they ought to get Jonah in on it. Verse 7, “And they said every one to his fellow, ‘Come, let us cast lots, throw dice, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.’ So they threw the dice and God controlled the dice, and the lot fell on Jonah,” and it was Jonah. Isn’t it interesting that sin here causes a …a natural disaster? You know, I really believe that, as we look around our world, we see all the earthquakes and so forth and so on that are going on. You know, there’s a…a percentage of earthquakes today that’s greater than at any other time in history, and I think it follows right along with the mystery of iniquity unfolding toward the coming of Christ, because natural disaster follows in conjunction with sin.

Now, if you go back to 2 Chronicles, for example, chapter 7, I think it is, verse 13. “If I shut up heaven that there is no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among the people, if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear…hear from heaven forgive their sin and will…what?…heal their land.”

You see, God responds to sin with very often natural disaster; and so God brought a storm in response to the sin of the prophet Jonah.

In other words, sin again. The creation is cursed and groaning, and the humans are sinners causing drama and disaster.

All this should point us to the Day, the time when Jesus renews the earth and the heavens, and no curse will ever exist. No disaster will ever befall any glorified human or any holy angel. No howling rainstorm will flood, only fresh dew will spring from the ground. No screeching wind, but only soft breezes to ruffle the hair and kiss the leaves. No trees toppling, only stately cedars standing strong, giving shade to us and homes for birds of the air.

The Lord is grace itself, His mighty voice upholds the heavens. Some day, the heavens will be fresh and perfect, and no curse of disaster shall ever trouble us again.

Is it the birth pangs?

Tuscany was lashed with torrential rains and floods. There were fatalities.
Bangalore is flooded. Water levels rose over 5 feet. And it’s drought season.

Mexico was subjected to a 8.1 earthquake with many dead. The President of that nation declared a three-day period of national mourning.

Hurricane Harvey inundated the US city of Houston this week.

Wildfires are raging in three US states.

Of course Hurricane Irma devastated the Carribbean and also the SE of the US, where it is predicted that it will take billions of dollars to reconstruct.
A new hurricane is in the Atlantic, Jose.

The Guardian has a run-down of the disasters currently in play. Below, Hurricane Irma photo taken by Russian Cosmonaut Randy Bresnik aboard the International Space Station.

irma

We live in a society unlike any in the past, a world of electronic media, a world of mass communication, a world of overexposure to relentless visual images and enhancements.  We see everything and we see it constantly.  In fact, we’re not isolated from anything that happens anywhere in the world.

Every catastrophe, every calamity, every cataclysm, every disaster, every tragedy everywhere eventually comes to us through the media and we vicariously experience all the pain and sorrow and suffering and death, whether it’s earthquakes in Mexico, or Japan, or Indonesia, or whether it’s famine in Africa or volcanic eruptions on various islands of the sea, or whether it’s horrific hurricanes in Asia or in Florida, whether it’s plagues in India, avalanches in Europe, wars in Iraq, whether it’s genocide, whether it’s suicidal terrorists in Israel or New York City or Washington D.C. or in a Russian school, whether it’s a plane crash, a train disaster, the sinking of ferry boat in a choppy sea in the English Channel, whatever it is, we are not isolated from these disasters, …

Whatever it is, we get it all. We cannot escape the information about catastrophic car wrecks that kill people. We see them replay it again and again on the nightly news, or house fires that burn up entire families.

And the truth is, if we weren’t living in this particular era of human history, we would not experience all of this. We would live in a little world somewhere and that little world would have its share of disasters and sometimes pretty devastating ones. But we at least wouldn’t have to bear the weight of all the disasters of all the world all the time. There is no little world for us anymore, not in western society. The weight of the tragedies of the world finds its way onto our emotional backs. The tragedies of the globe become ours to process in our beleaguered minds. Supernatural lessons from a natural disaster, John MacArthur

Is it the apocalyptic birth pangs? Yes. But the pangs have been appearing for 2000 years, since Jesus ascended. The two men in white announced to the men staring into the sky as Jesus had just been lifted out of their sight,

and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).

This is just the beginning. (Matthew 24:8). Earthquakes, floods, death, and disasters have always happened, since after the time of Genesis 3. Do you know why?

The curse. Sin. The earth groans under it.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:22)

The simple verb to travail, occurs Gal. 4:19, 27; and the kindred noun birth-pang, in Matthew and Mark, Acts, and 1 Thess. 5:3.

Together refers to the common longing of all the elements of the creation, not to its longing in common with God’s children. “Nature, with its melancholy charm, resembles a bride who, at the very moment when she was fully attired for marriage, saw the bridegroom die. She still stands with her fresh crown and in her bridal dress, but her eyes are full of tears” (Schelling, cited by Godet). M.R. Vincent, Word studies in the New Testament

And this-

(1.) That there is a present vanity to which the creature, by reason of the sin of man, is made subject, v. 20. When man sinned, the ground was cursed for man’s sake, and with it all the creatures (especially of this lower world, where our acquaintance lies) became subject to that curse, became mutable and mortal.

(2.) That the creatures groan and travail in pain together under this vanity and corruption, v. 22. It is a figurative expression. Sin is a burden to the whole creation;

There is a general outcry of the whole creation against the sin of man: the stone crieth out of the wall (Hab. 2:11), the land cries, Job 31:38. Source: Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible

God is sovereign. God either allows a storm (satan can whip up a wind, he has that power, Job 1:19); or for His purposes God creates one. (Deuteronomy 11:17, James 5:17, Numbers 16:30-34). Either way, the earth originally was not home to this kind of trouble. In Eden, things were perfect. Not a harsh wind, not a tornado, not an earthquake, not even a stinging insect. Placid, dew-perfect life for Adam and Eve. Until the serpent tempted the humans to sin, and the humans fell. So did creation.

Paul cried out famously, Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24). We could equally cry ‘who will rescue us from this planet of death?’ We groan and the creation groans. The most we can do in the face of these storms is remember who God is. We remember why this is happening (sin’s curse). We pray that those who do not know these things will turn to God and repent. Today because in all likelihood, the news will bring us another one tomorrow and we will we vicariously experience all the pain and sorrow and suffering and death all over again. MacArthur’s prayer-

We’re reminded of the words of the apostle Paul borrowing from the Old Testament, “Today is the day of salvation.” Lord, we have time now. We have opportunity now. We don’t know what the future has. We don’t know what calamity awaits. But we know we are experiencing Your patience and forbearance now. We know it’s not because You’re slack with Your promise. It’s not because You’re impotent, or powerless. It’s not because You’re indifferent. You could take us at any moment. You could snuff our lives out and You would be just in doing that.

But You have given us life and time and gospel opportunity to repent. And we…we have to see that opportunity for what it really is and we have to hear what our Lord said, “Repent or perish.” Death comes suddenly, unexpectedly, and if we have not repented with a repentance of not just turning, as turning from sin but turning to Christ, then eternal judgment awaits and forever we pay the penalty. What a horrific thought. While there is time, while there is opportunity, while there is the knowledge of the truth, I pray, oh God, that hearts would turn to You even now. Father, now we ask that You would do Your work. We’re so grateful for the fact that You have been gracious to us, those of us that know You.

We were given time and space and opportunity to repent. We were given the truth to hear and to believe and, oh Lord, we pray that You would so move in the hearts of those who have heard now and have not yet repented. May they be warned and shaken to the seriousness of the jeopardy in which they exist. And we ask that many would repent before they perish. And Lord, use us to spread this word of warning and of mercy to sinners everywhere. May they know that judgment comes but that mercy waits. And now send us out to be used to Your glory, we pray in Your Son’s name.

Supernatural lessons from a natural disaster, John MacArthur

PS, the sermon above and quoted up at the beginning was delivered 13 years ago, in 2004.

Is the Wisconsin company microchipping employees a fulfillment of the Mark of the Beast?

Prophecy is so important to the Christian. We are supposed to take comfort and encouragement in it. God is sovereign, therefore He has the ability and the right to ordain history beforehand, and He does. Then in His grace and mercy He gave us knowledge of what will happen. We rejoice in knowing He will bring all He has said to pass. (Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35).

Sadly, Prophecy as a field of study has gotten a bad reputation. One reason is that it is rife with the unstable who make unbiblical date-driven predictions. Another reason is that some passages are admittedly difficult and the unstable go astray when preaching them. These passages are not impossible to understand, because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible for our edification and He helps us interpret it. However, prophetic passages do take some deep study. When someone unstable preaches on eschatology, the passages are twisted and the sheep gain a misunderstanding instead of illumination (and the goats too)..

Prophecy is important because it informs our holiness and behavior. As Pastor Mike Abendroth said,

“Prophecy drives behavior. There are ethical implications to all eschatology. Those that study eschatology the most in my opinion ought to be the most holy, because they are so pondering the return of Christ.” ~Pastor Mike Abendroth, Bethlehem Bible Church/No Compromise Radio

There is a particular passage of scripture that is well-known to even the unsaved, and that regards the Mark of the Beast and his number of 666. Revelation 13:11-18 outlines what this is.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

The Second Beast is the False Prophet. At the time of the Tribulation when the Church is taken out of the world and Jesus hurls His stored-up wrath on Israel and the pagans, the Antichrist will rise. The UNholy trinity will be Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the devil himself, satan. These three will appear to be the blessed trinity, they’ll perform signs and wonders, deceive the whole world, and then once they have the people in the palm of their hand, they will force all to worship the Antichrist by receiving this mark on their hand or forehead. The Mark of the Beast is a mark of allegiance and worship.

Those who refuse to accept the mark will be unable to buy or sell, and so in effect, be starved or out in the cold so they’ll die, if the antichrist doesn’t catch them and behead them first.

Since the Mark is on the hand or forehead, and since it involves a number, and since it will be something that is trackable at points of sale, many have speculated that the Mark will be a chip-like piece of technology.

Normally, discussing the antichrist and his mark retains a whiff of unsavoriness due to these passages being mishandled so often. Worse, newspaper exegesis causes teachers to go off the rails. Newspaper exegesis is preaching prophecy from the news and not the Bible. We saw a lot of this with the Blood Moons. We will probably see this with the upcoming Eclipse.

However this week Dr Al Mohler remarked about microchipping and the Mark of the Beast on his cultural news and Bible program The Briefing. The mark of the beast was in the news. A Wisconsin company began microchipping its employees, and apparently the program is voluntary (for now). Legal and ethical implications abound, but also prophetic implications, all of which were discussed on Mohler’s program. Here are several brief excerpts from the Mohler segment with my own comments interspersed:

If you’re a Christian familiar with the Scriptures, then no doubt another dimension of this question is coming to your mind. It’s come to the mind of others, including interestingly enough USA Today. In yesterday’s international edition of USA Today, there is a story by Holly Meyer. It asks the question, is this the mark of the beast? As she writes,

“The apocalyptic “mark of the beast” prophecy in the Bible makes some wary of a Wisconsin company’s recent decision to embed microchips into the hands of willing employees. The end times account,” she writes, “in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation warns believers about being marked on the right hand and the forehead by the Antichrist.” But she says, “inserting rice-sized microchips under the skin of Three Square Market employees does not fulfill the prophecy.”

The mark is actually enforced by the False Prophet, not the antichrist, but close enough for secular people. Interesting that they know both the mark, his number, and of the antichrist himself. The Mark is a deliberate mark of worship. When the False Prophet causes all to take the mark, they know what it is for and why they are taking it. The enticement is being able to buy and sell, but it is first and foremost a Mark of the allegiance to the Beast, and it’s going to be offered to the whole world, not just 40 employees in Wisconsin. We are not in the times outlined by Revelation now. So the issue fails on those three accounts as far as being a “fulfillment” of the aforementioned prophecy. Continuing with Mohler:

The USA Today story goes back to Proffesor Vlachos who said,”Taking the mark goes hand in hand with the conscience decision of publicly pledging one’s allegiance or loyalty to the beast and worshiping his image.” He went on to say that, “The mark is not a random number either. It always names the Antichrist, either numerically or alphabetically.” The professor says to his students, “No name, no worries.”

A similar kind of assessment came in the USA Today story by Randall Balmer, chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He said that many evangelicals look to that book and current events in terms of something like a parlor game. But even as Balmer seemed initially to dismiss the speculation, he went on to say that he understood why people might connect the micro-chipping and the prophecy from the book of Revelation. “It may not be the ‘mark of the beast,’ but it certainly is a slippery slope.’ He went on to say, “I think we should be cautious about allowing that measure of control or surveillance into our lives.”

The last days of the last days all takes place within 7 years. There is a massive amount of prophecy that will unfold within that very short time. It could be said that the last 6000 years has been laying the infrastructure for those last 7. I agree that the microchipping is a slippery slope. The technology that will be used in those short, last 7 years is present on earth now and further, the minds and hearts of people on earth are being prepared to use it. After the rapture it’ll all come together quickly. Dr Mohler concluded-

But at the same time, there’s something truly haunting about the idea of a company embedding an RFID chip under the skin of an employee’s hand. We’re told, of course, that the company will not be able to track the employee, but we also understand just how quickly this kind of technology can go from a matter promised as a convenience to a matter coerced as an absolute necessity. 

… It also tells us something that this particular story landed on the front page of USA Today, the book of Revelation, the antichrist, and the beast on the front page of USA Today, even in its international edition as read here in Europe. It at least should be noted that even in this very secular culture there are those who immediately are asking the same question. Is this chip the mark of the beast? That tells us that even secular people still hear the distant hoof beats of the horsemen from the book of Revelation.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m so glad that this issue is being directly addressed, and in both a scriptural and poignant way, too. Dr Mohler said in his article that no, this is not the mark of the beast, but it is haunting. It’s haunting in my opinion because of the conscious decision of many future millions to consign themselves to eternal destruction the moment they raise their hand to worship the beast and not Christ.

It’s also haunting that the pagan world is so spooked and unnerved by this prophecy. Deep down, with eternity in their hearts, they know that wrath for sin is coming. In a dark, closed cupboard of their mind, they are aware of the prophecies and keep that door firmly shut…until an article like this comes along and they lose their atheistic composure. That’s why when a false teacher teaches a date-driven prophecy related to prophecy, they mock and scorn when it doesn’t come to pass, comforting themselves that it won’t happen at all. (2 Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:48). When prophecy becomes fodder for jokes or badly made movies, they comfort themselves that it is just fiction. (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

Please be the Christian like the ones mentioned by Pastor Abendroth: let prophecy inform your behavior and inspire you (and me) to urgency. We have to read prophecy in the first place, and then pray for wisdom and understanding to is grows us on proper holiness. Because, prophecy is important, even the strange and difficult passages like the ones mentioned in Revelation. Especially those.

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Royal Dutch Airlines Unleashes The Single Stupidest Gay Pride Ad Of All Time

Daily Wire remarked on the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Gay “Pride” ad campaign with this headline:

Royal Dutch Airlines Unleashes The Single Stupidest Gay Pride Ad Of All Time

In its desire to placate the sexual political correctness running rampant in advertising lately, Royal Dutch Airlines has just condemned all same-sex couples to death, propounding the idea that any kind of seatbelt arrangement suits the airline just fine:

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The article above continued with Twitter screen shots of hilarity and mockery.

I loved this man’s Facebook comment to the above:

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I said the same on Twitter. The boy-boy belt won’t work, and the girl-girl belt won’t work. Only the boy-girl belt will “click.” You can paint the strap rainbow but…

So self-refutation indeed. Anyway, last time I checked, seat belts still needed a male and a female part to “click” , and homosexuality was still a sin.